I have a special place in my heart for Thanksgiving!  I love the season, the food, the family and friends, the reason for celebrating and the preparation!

I also love our family traditions that have formed around this All-American holiday!

Traditions are a way of passing along our beliefs.... or customs... our ways.  They help us to belong and connect. They are a beautiful thread that stitches the heart and minds of one generation to the next.

We are folks that love and celebrate tradition, especially around the holidays...

Thanksgiving means family. Yes, it may mean football and parades and big balloons that look like funny cartoon characters, and the kick-off of the Christmas season, and shopping... but it means so much more to our family!

We have well developed traditions around Thanksgiving.

Aptly named, it is a time for giving thanks to God. He is the source of all blessings and goodness and Thanksgiving is a celebration of His goodness and mercy to our family.

What is a holiday without food? And this is probably the biggest meal of the year!  We eat the exact same thing every year. Everyone has their favorites!   Mine is stuffing with gravy! Just the thought of it makes my mouth water! YUMMY!

Everyone in our family gets involved... even the men. It takes a village to put on a Thanksgiving feast!

I'm famous for my turkey. I started making it as a young wife and over the years have perfected the technique.

I'll be sharing all my turkey making secrets with you next week.

Does the aroma coming from a kitchen smell the absolute best on Thanksgiving day?  It's not just the turkey, but the love that goes into making it!

We are not eat-and-run people. We like to linger! We take breaks, we talk, we play table games. Then we clean up the main meal and later that evening we have a dessert buffet!

Thanksgiving  is an all afternoon into evening event at StoneGable.

At dinnertime every year someone reads the Thanksgiving story. It's good to hear the old tale! When the children were little they would dress up in costumes and as we read they would act it out in a play.

Each year as we gather we find a creative way to go around the table and tell everyone what we are thankful for that year.

My favorite way to do this is using 5 kernels of corn.

It is a tangible way to literally count our blessings!

I've heard many versions of the  5 KERNELS OF CORN story, but here is how we tell it...

On Nov. 11, 1620 the Mayflower landed on the Northern tip of Cape Cod bringing a group of people searching for religious freedom. We call them the Pilgrims.

It was not easy to settle in a new place... a new world. It was very hard and the Pilgrims suffered greatly.

Winter set in and it was cold and food was in short supply.

It is said that during the cold and harsh winter of 1621, that sometimes only 5 kernels of corn were rationed out to eat.

No matter how small something is... if we see it as a blessing, that's huge!

 Five kernels of corn are put at each person's place to remind them to count their blessings, even if they are very small!

Taking turns, we go around the table and tell everyone 5 things we are thankful for.

We usually have some very loud laughs and some sentimental tears as well. But most of all we have a whole lot of head's nodding in blessing agreement as the warm presence of God fills us and the room!

In recent years, we have made it important to ask my mother questions about her childhood and growing up years. I want my children to know about my mom and how she grew up. I want them to hear about my wonderful grandmother and my father who have gone to be with the Lord.

We listen to stories of Thanksgivings long ago and the way things were done. My mother tell stories in glorious and vivid detail, filled with color and animation.

This year I'm recording the stories!

One last favorite Thanksgiving tradition of mine is to wake up Friday morning, when all the hustle and bustle is over and all the boys in the family go for a long walk with the dogs, and eat Thanksgiving leftovers in my pj's with the all girls in my family.

We are all exhausted and really not hungry, but we all still gather to have leftovers! ABSOLUTELY no frills! Piled on plates and microwaved! And  we only eat what we want.

That usually looks like a bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy with a big scoop of stuffing on the top for me...  with some canned cranberry jelly. NO JUDGING!! And the only veggie that night cross my lips is a little green bean casserole! All to be washed down with coffee and a slice of pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream.

We read magazines and chat and laugh and eat and stay in our jammies until almost noon! It's a girl thing and we all love it!

I hope your Thanksgiving traditions run deeply and richly through your family and those lucky enough to be at your table this year!

And may you always be able to count your blessing... large and small!

I am so thrilled to be participating in


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